One person will drive the Duck vehicle and another will serve as a tour guide once the vehicles are back on the road after a suspension ordered after five people died in the Aurora Bridge accident.
Ride the Ducks of Seattle will require two crew members on board each of its vehicles once they return to roads.
The company announced in a statement Tuesday that, while under a state-issued suspension, it is identifying ways to ensure safety, aside from an investigation led by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC).
“One team member will drive the Duck vehicle on the road, focusing solely on safely navigating the vehicle, while the second will serve as tour guide and entertainer for our guests,” the statement read. “We are taking this step as part of our unwavering commitment to providing a safe experience for our passengers and members of our community.”
The move follows the closure of the Ride the Ducks operation in San Francisco after that city passed a law requiring that drivers not also be tour guides. That city’s decision followed an accident with a motorized cable car, not a Ducks vehicle, but the Duck tours announced afterward that they would shut down due to a “challenging business environment.”
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In Seattle, after a crash on the Aurora Bridge that killed five people, the UTC issued an emergency order to suspend the company’s operations pending a full examination into its fleet, including vehicle safety and driver records.
David Pratt, who manages the UTC’s transportation-safety program, at that time said the investigation should take about two weeks before initial findings are made.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) also opened an investigation into the cause of the crash that could take up to a year to complete and issue safety recommendations.
The NTSB said in September that the World War II-era Duck vehicle involved in the crash had not undergone a recommended repair to the front axle. The vehicle’s left-front axle was found sheared off in the crash’s wreckage.
In Tuesday’s statement, Ride the Ducks of Seattle said though the NTSB’s probe is not finished, the company has found “no indication that driver inattentiveness was involved, nor has it been linked to previous accidents or issues.”
Company employees were not speaking about Tuesday’s announcement, and the company shared the information with the National Transportation Safety Board, according to the statement.